Mercedes Benz India registers 47 percent growth in car sales

November 1st, 2008 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 1 (IANS) Mercedes Benz India, the Indian arm of global automobile major Daimler AG of Germany, has bucked the trend to sell 3,141 luxury cars in India in the first 10 months of the current calendar year, registering a year-on-year growth of 47 percent, company officials said here Saturday.With car financing drying up due to the current credit crunch following the global financial meltdown, most automobile makers in India are struggling to maintain car sales. But not so Mercedes Benz India.

Compared to this year, Mercedes Benz had sold only 2,141 cars during the same period last year, the company’s sales and marketing director Sanjiv Sahajwala told reporters.

“Experts are saying that these are difficult times as far as both the global and domestic economies are concerned. But we have still managed to grow,” he said.

While refusing to spell out the company’s future growth projections, Sahajwala admitted that the economic slowdown had affected car financing.

“In the first ten months of last year, 70 percent of units were sold through the financing route but this year the figure is down to 58 percent,” he said.

Giving a region-wise break-up of sales, Sahajwala said that the north accounted for 40 percent of cars sold, 30 percent were sold in the west, and 27 percent in the south. The remaining 3 percent were sold in eastern India.

“About 45 percent of the cars were sold in Delhi and Mumbai,” he said.

With the entry of several global competitors, the company’s market share in the luxury car market has come down to 50 percent from 90 percent four to five years ago.

But the company is going ahead with its expansion plans and hopes to regain lost market share in the coming years.

“We need to shift our plant due to the enhanced demand from the market,” Sahajwala said at the company’s ‘Discover Your Star’ presentation that showcased all its models available in the country.

The company’s existing plant at Pune’s Chikhali is spread over 20 acres and has a capacity to roll out 3,000 cars per year.

The 100-acre Chakan facility, however, set up at an investment of Rs.2.5 billion, will be able to produce 5,000 knocked-down units a year including cars, trucks and buses, Sahajwala said.

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